Crotty gets first start as All Blacks named for second Bledisloe test

Ryan Crotty

The All Blacks will take on Australia at Eden Park on Saturday 23 August (kick-off: 7.35pm) with the match day squad featuring outside back Cory Jane, who will play his 50th Test; midfielder Ryan Crotty coming in at 12 for the injured Ma'a Nonu to make his first start in the run-on XV in his eighth Test; and centre Conrad Smith returning from baby chores.

In other changes to the squad, loose forward Liam Messam has been named at six, replacing the injured Jerome Kaino, and prop Charlie Faumuina is back from illness, taking his spot on the reserves bench.

The team is: (with Test caps in brackets)

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (28)
2. Dane Coles (19)
3. Owen Franks (58)
4. Brodie Retallick (28)
5. Samuel Whitelock (55)
6. Liam Messam (32)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (128)
8. Kieran Read (63)
9. Aaron Smith (30)
10. Aaron Cruden (33)
11. Julian Savea (23)
12. Ryan Crotty (7)
13. Conrad Smith (78)
14. Cory Jane (49)
15. Ben Smith (30)

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu (114)
17. Ben Franks (32)
18. Charlie Faumuina (20)
19. Steven Luatua (12)
20. Sam Cane (15)
21. TJ Perenara (4)
22. Beauden Barrett (20)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (3)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "While we were disappointed with the draw last weekend, we are excited by the opportunity that presents itself this weekend. It's another Test match against Australia, the chance to win the Bledisloe Cup and the first home Test of the Investec Rugby Championship in front of our home fans.

"We have been working hard on all aspects of our game this week and there's a definite resolve to improve the quality of our performance on Saturday."

On the injury front, Hansen confirmed that Nonu had suffered deep shoulder bruising but is expected to be available for selection for the Test against Argentina in Napier in two weeks, while Kaino has an injured elbow, which is expected to keep him out of rugby for four to six weeks.


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